I’ve lately been wondering if I’m in a select minority of folks who are just not that interested in the upcoming World Cup. It might of course be a hangover effect from watching a dreadful Manchester United play for the previous 10 months, but I suspect it’s deeper than that.
Some time in the last four years – the Euro 2012 to be exact – I came to the conclusion that international football is dull when compared to following club football. I enjoy the pacing of matches throughout a season as opposed to watching 2 to 3 matches a day during a period of one month. The quality of play is usually not as good. And the relative lack of parity throughout the groups is constantly irritating (how do you get a group consisting of Spain, Holland, Chile & Australia and then have one composed of Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast & Japan?). Or maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m just growing weary from watching a bunch of men-children kick a ball around a field.
But for us US fans, the only question at the moment is whether Jürgen Klinsmann made the right decision in excluding Landon Donovan from the 23-man roster. My own view on the matter is that when Donovan went walkabout a year and a half ago he should never have been called back in to the national team which would have spared us all from the current outcry. I wrote something similar last year prior to the Gold Cup.
This isn’t to say I don’t feel bad for Donovan, because it does seem a little cruel for Klinsmann to have brought him into camp only to ultimately tell him he’s not good enough in a pretty public manner.
But in terms of performances this summer, I don’t really think it would have mattered if Donovan were included in the squad or not: the US is likely exiting after the group stages anyway. To be brutally honest of our team’s chances, picking up a solitary point from the group stage would have to be seen as a success. Anything more will be seen as an over achievement while anything less will be a realistic portrayal of the team’s abilities.